The Piney Heights community in Daingerfield has been a refuge for generations of families. That connection to community was on full display Labor Day weekend 2017 when hundreds of past and present Daingerfield residents gathered to celebrate family, friends and fellowship.
Thanks to social media, representatives from several families successfully brought together past and present Piney Heights residents for the first-ever gathering. Organizers now plan to make it an annual event.
A predominantly African-American neighborhood, it is believed that the Piney Heights community, which is just west of downtown Daingerfield, has beginnings dating back as far as the early 1930s. Over the years, more than 30 families have lived and raised their children in the tight-knit community nestled amongst a cluster of tall, pine trees in Morris County.
For Daingerfield native Trenia Hurndon, the Piney Heights weekend brought together the best of everything.
I enjoyed sharing memories, laughing with family and all that good EATING,” Hurndon said. “Events like this allow us to bring the community back together as one unit. I’m thankful because Piney Heights provided me with the Word of God, generations of love, family values and teachings to pass on to my kinfolk.”
Gale Jones, representing the Davis family, also enjoyed catching up during the gathering.
“The reunion was about having a fun time and bringing family together,” she said. “Back years ago, everybody took care of everybody else’s children. If you did anything wrong no matter where you were, whatever adult was around would take care of it and that was the end of that. Piney Heights was a great neighborhood to grow up in.”
Rosie Lee Hood, representing the Mason family, agreed.
“If you acted up, you got a whooping,” she said. “It was just that simple, but there was also a lot of love in Piney Heights. Everybody took care of everybody.”
As one of the Piney Heights matriarchs, local community activist Margine Mims and her family moved to the neighborhood in the 1950s.
“Piney Heights is one of the oldest communities in Daingerfield,” she said. “It also used to be one of the largest communities around. Over the years, many people moved away from the community so it was great to see them all come back together. This reunion brought the young and the old together. I haven’t seen anything like it. It was so wonderful. With all that’s going wrong in this world, we needed something like this to restore us. This reunion gave them a reason to come back home.”
The two-day event featured food and activities at each family homestead. Participants also joined together to release balloons for family members who are no longer living. A memory board, halfway between the connecting streets, showcased photos and other memorabilia and celebrated the past lives of several former residents who held Piney Heights near and dear to their hearts.
“God is such an awesome God,” Mims said. “He has watched over us all these years and He brought us back together to give Him thanks. We are truly thankful for what Piney Heights has done for us and this whole community.”
By SONYA ROBERTS-WOODS